Diversity Advisory Committee drafts action plan

Above%2C+a+draft+of+the+Diversity+Action+Plan+from+Nov.+2019.+The+latest+draft+has+been+sent+to+the+University+of+Chicago+for+approval.

Leland Culver

Above, a draft of the Diversity Action Plan from Nov. 2019. The latest draft has been sent to the University of Chicago for approval.

The Diversity Advisory Committee has developed a new diversity action plan and sent it to the University of Chicago for approval. The group of students and faculty members on campus implemented feedback from constituent groups toward the plan, which will be shared online with the entire community. 

The three-year action plan is a combination of historical documents that include recommendations made to the Lab Schools, the school’s current context and resources from the University of Chicago’s Diversity and Inclusion Planning Toolkit. 

Mayher Kaur, a U-High senior on the committee, said she tried to bring in a student voice. 

I tried to raise issues that I thought might need to be addressed in the student perspective, especially when it came to how teachers approach conversations about race and religion”

— Mayher Kaur

“I tried to raise issues that I thought might need to be addressed in the student perspective, especially when it came to how teachers approach conversations about race and religion,” Mayher said. 

The plan is divided into four sections: infrastructure, teaching and learning, people and climate, and community. 

  • Infrastructure highlights what needs to be in place for an inclusive and fair community. This includes the question of having to revise the published diversity statement and the policies that need to be revisited in handbooks.
  • Teaching and learning focuses on how to support teachers when thinking about diversity equity and inclusion work in classrooms. This includes looking at what is being taught and what professional development opportunities can be offered for teachers to feel more prepared to do the work they do in their classrooms. 
  • People looks at the recruitment and retention of a more diverse student body and adult population. 
  • Climate and community focuses on how people feel about being at school. As a way to focus on this, a climate survey is being proposed to occur every other year, committees are thinking about what professional development needs to happen for employees around the connection between health and wellness and DEI as well as ways to engage with the Southside community in more deliberate ways. 

“I hope that it helps to put in action what our stated commitment to diversity is,” said Priyanka Rupani, director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “I hope it engages every single member of our community in seeing that DEI work is an everyday part of school and that everyone sees themselves as someone who can advance this work.”